Improving network security is a top priority for every business and organization today. If we look back to the history of network security starting around 1950, the topic began as soon as people started realizing that there was intrinsic value in data. This happened in a series of events as the Information and Digital Age unfolded in the second half of the 20th century.
In the late 1960s and into the early 1970s, digital storage became a reality. Large, room-sized mainframes were responsible for storing this information and access to those storage repositories was granted by plugging directly into the mainframe itself or accessing the mainframe’s data from one of many terminals inside of the building. Early adopters of digital storage technology didn’t have a problem protecting company sensitive information as you actually had to be inside the building to get to the information.
Less than a decade later, as more and more data was stored, there was a shift in thinking: Data had value and included large volumes of personally identifiable information — credit card data, bank account numbers, profit and loss statements, personal details, demographic information on large population groups. It was during this shift that information started becoming a commodity.
These were just the early beginnings of the future of network security as the data revolution would continue and drive changes in security strategies. Consider that just five years from now, our collective data worldwide will reach 175 zettabytes — hard to imagine how large a zettabyte actually is, but as a multiple of the unit byte for digital information, just picture 175 followed by literally 21 zeros. This enormous volume of digital data will include databases, videos, photos, all types of apps, and much more.
The rapid proliferation of digital data brought with it the unprecedented risk of the most sensitive information ending up in the hands of the wrong people.
The introduction of online access and the Internet also accelerated this risk. Not only did companies have large amounts of personal information on employees and customers, they also started sharing, marketing, selling, and repackaging this data, introducing even greater risk and security concerns.
As data became a highly valued commodity, both the genesis of cybercrime began and the modern approach to cybersecurity protection came about. Anything with value can be bought, sold, and most importantly, stolen. Companies now had to face the new reality that their sensitive information needed to be kept safe from cybercriminals.
In fact, research today shows that by 2023, more than 33 billion data records will be stolen by cybercriminals — an increase of 175% since 2018.